Show Transcript for Episode 289: Strengthen Your Erotic Mind

George Faller 00:02
How do we strengthen the erotic mind?

Laurie Watson 00:07
Ooh, let’s talk about erotic ideas..

George Faller 00:11
Fantasies, our own inner world.

Laurie Watson 00:15
Our sexual inner world. Welcome to Foreplay radio, couples & sex therapy. I’m Laurie Watson, your sex therapist.

George Faller 00:26
And I’m George Faller, your couples therapist,

Laurie Watson 00:29
And we are passionate about talking about sex and helping you develop a way to talk to each other.

George Faller 00:34
Our mission is to help our audience develop a healthier relationship to sex that integrates the mind, the heart and the body. So Laurie, this transition from the everyday mundane mind that’s got long lists and lots of stresses, how do we make that transition to the erotic mind? That’s looking for something different? Life’s a bit simpler in that erotic mind. How do we cultivate it, like a workout? How do we get reps, get that erotic mind stronger? And there is there’s something to be said about it getting too strong. So let’s just open up some space and chat about the erotic mind.

Laurie Watson 01:15
Okay, I think we know how to do it. You know, there’s something intuitive when we’re dating and fantasizing about the guy or the woman, we’re fantasizing about sexual things that might happen. So we all essentially have practice doing it, don’t you think? I mean, I think when I listen to women talk about the guy that they’re dating, and all the things that are happening, and you know what she’s going to do next? I mean, I hear crazy stuff. And these are women who, particularly at my stage in the practice, often women who are divorced and going back into the dating field, right, you know, and sometimes I knew them when they were married. You know, I was like, Where was that? Where was that energy? One woman told me the other day, she said, You know, I went over to this guy, she’s dating and loves him. And I don’t know that she went over to this guy’s house, she’s dating doesn’t love him, and, but as you know, sexual with him, and I said, Well, so what happened? And she’s like, you know, I just went over and went commando and jumped on top. I’m like, Girl, you know, but she planned it. I mean, she thought about what she was going to do. She thought about what she was going to wear. She thought about how he was going to react, it turned her on. I mean, it was all a fantasy before it became an action. Right. You know, I mean, that was hot stuff.

George Faller 02:37
Yes, that anticipation is such a turn on. And the brain is the best sexual organ we have. Right? It’s and so many of us so many couples I work with, it’s not developed, it’s not really used, it kind of turns off in a relationship. So I love what you’re saying, like, how do we get better at using this great tool?

Laurie Watson 02:58
I think that people believe sex should be sensual. So it should be of the body. And so they don’t realize, especially I don’t think women realize that it should be in their minds as well. I mean, they’re, they’re hoping to be triggered. And, you know, I get it, women are often triggered to become sexual, and that’s how they experienced desire. That’s what the research says. But I also think that having an erotic mind where you contemplate a little bit about what you like and bad or you know what turns you on, and do that sort of as a practice primes the pump. So you’re not coming to the moment like that’s the very first sexual thought you’ve ever had about it.

George Faller 03:37
Right? Most men want women’s sexual mind to be more developed, right? That’s a big turn on that a woman wants sex for themselves, not as something just to kind of do for their partner, right? And I think men, the erotic mind, although it might often start visual, right? I kind of want to see what you’re wearing, or what you look like. I mean, that’s all about the brain kind of anticipating and kind of “what’s going to happen next?” I mean, as you know, there’s a wild fantasy that’s playing out even while you’re looking at your partner.

Laurie Watson 04:08
I imagine that’s true. I mean, that’s how it starts. He maybe gets triggered visually. And then it’s how the night’s gonna go, what they’re gonna do in bed I mean, he’s got what you’re saying is the visual is the beginning point, but then he takes it off and fantasy, which is his erotic brain.

George Faller 04:26
Yeah. When you think “All right, I’m gonna walk by and slap my partner in the butt,” right? It is something about the feel of that and the look of that- that just starts it off. It’s like, Huh, what could happen next? And you know, that would be nice if that was responded to, you know, even though part of you knows it’s not gonna be responded to.

Laurie Watson 04:44
Or if part of it was though, I mean, yeah.

George Faller 04:47
Yes. I think it’s a fun possibility. It’s the not knowing, it’s that anticipation that’s so important to a turn on. If we can’t get our minds engaged. If it’s just sensual, if it’s just in your body, which is also critically important – We’re really just trying to emphasize like, how do you become more developed in that erotic zone?

Laurie Watson 05:09
I think it is critical. You know, the body is a critical part but I think for women, particularly without testosterone, this is the gasoline – their thoughts and their imagination and their fantasies and their memories are how they stay connected sexually. Because their body takes so long to get aroused. And so it’s not on a hair trigger. They have to somehow or another be using their mind and developing it. It’s sad to me when I hear a woman, a low libido woman, come in and talk about the birthday party that she’s planning for her kid. Right? You know, there’s the favors, the theme, the invitations, how excited she is, all the guests she’s inviting, the anticipation she has about her child’s delight. I’m like, you know, just a quarter of that in the bedroom would change your life. I mean, I frequently ask low libido people like “what would it be like for YOU, if you had eroticism? Like, what would it be like for YOU, if you could anticipate a great time in the bedroom? And what would it do to your relationship?” And they almost always say “it’d be a 10. You know, I would love it, I would love to feel those things.” It’s like, okay, you can feel those things.

George Faller 06:22
Well, I’m sitting here thinking about what would block that what gets in the way of it. And I think for some people, it’s, there’s a balance between the fantasy and reality that, you know, if I’m fantasizing about someone else, I mean, my being unfaithful to my partner, I mean, there’s so many like breaks that could come up around the fantasy that just turn off the erotic brain, I just don’t want to kind of engage in that, Right? So how do we find, and I think we’re all responsible for our own inner erotic world. And what feels good about that, and developed that to kind of lean into- a lot of times- our fantasies can tell us what turns us on what turns us off, you know, that we want to explore and expand a part of ourselves.

Laurie Watson 07:08
Okay. Well, I want to go back to what you just said, because I think you’re right that for some people, when they hear turning on and using fantasy, they would get blocked, if they start thinking about somebody else. And you’re also saying that that could block the connection between the couple if if one partner is invested in a fantasy about another? And yeah, maybe the connection between the two is not going to work as well. But I think that fantasies can be bridges into the moment with your partner, they maybe start your engine going, whether it’s a memory of what happened to you, or even with a different partner, I, you know, I tend to think that if you can turn on, I trust the body. I trust that when you have sex with your partner, you’re going to be about your partner. I mean, when you open your eyes after an orgasm, they’re the first person you see and it’s like the ducklings you know, the first person they see that’s who they get attached to and so after orgasm, you’re with your partner, and there is bonding that happens there. I just I’m not so afraid of people being led astray by the fantasies that that they might have. I mean, I do hear the reservation. And I certainly hear the reservation, I don’t want to encourage people who you know, feel anxious about that, like, Oh, you know, it’s wrong for me to think about anybody else. Okay, great. If that’s wrong for you, forget about it.

George Faller 08:31
The proof is in what happens when you said, does it lead to more bonding? Do you open your eyes? Do you feel more connected? I think there is some wisdom in recognizing it can be a slippery slope for some that if you’re going to fantasize, if you know a lot of men do this where they need to think about the the portal, they will watch and to kind of have an orgasm and like they’re not really present with their partner because the whole episode is is lost in that fantasy. And it’s such a relief afterwards that they had an orgasm, like they never really were able to connect with their partner. Right. So if the fantasy leads to more distance, then I don’t think it is so helpful. But what you’re describing is beautiful. It’s a bridge, like you can be in your own fantasy for a minute in your head, then come back to your partner’s touch. And you know, afterwards you look at your partner in the eyes and like the oxytocin is released. And that was a great bridge for your to strengthen your relationship. But I think it is also important to say for some people, if you recognize your fantasy is taking you out of the relationship, you’re thinking about somebody else and you’re not thinking about your partner and you never get back to your partner that could become a threat to your relationship.

Laurie Watson 09:41
Sure. I’d like to reveal something. You know, when I was first married, I had spent the whole engagement and dating relationship fantasizing about my husband sexually, you know, my husband to be and had thought about all kinds of stuff, but I really believed when I first got married that fantasy was wrong. And so I stopped fantasizing even about him. It was like, I believed the most important moment was the central moment. So I completely left my mind out of the bedroom, had trouble getting aroused, had trouble, you know, all kinds of things. Because, for me, there was the separation. Okay, now we’re doing it. I should be completely invested in the sensual and so, you know, I think it was my gynecologist who said, Well, you know, can’t you like… fantasize or something? And she was a really good person. And I was a very rigid person. And, and she was a Christian and kind of shared the same ethic as I did. But I mean, it helped me to say, okay, basically the message was, from a very powerful authority figure- about a woman’s body, like, you know what, you need to think. You need to think again, it’s okay to think.

George Faller 10:55
Thank you for sharing and I think it’s a lot of women can relate to that and men that they shut off this side of themselves, to love their partner well, and to be what they believe is loyal and committed, but they lose so much of who they are sexually in the process. So let’s come back and talk more about this balance.

Laurie Watson 11:16
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George Faller 11:24
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Laurie Watson 11:33
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Laurie Watson 12:47
Okay, so George, one thing that comes up for me when when you and I talk about fantasy is you know, sometimes you discuss this idea of a block. That the fantasy of another, particularly if one person is fantasizing about another, that that can block the connection with their partner, and I want to see where you’re going there. But on the other hand, I think the engagement of the mind is so important, and to be judgmental of your own fantasies in some ways. I don’t know that that can kind of block something, I think it’s one thing to start fantasizing about a person and long for that person, you know, an old lover or whatever, and you just start longing for that person, but then that’s clearly going to divide the partnership. But I guess there’s this other part that I don’t know, I don’t know that we should judge the thoughts that flip through our mind so harshly.

George Faller 13:43
I’m not judging, I’m inviting people to evaluate the effectiveness of their fantasy. Okay, right, if their fantasy leads to a bridge, and it allows them to develop more their erotic being, it’s bringing more energy into the relationship, go for it. I think we all need to do a better job of developing erotic minds, it’s only going to lead to more layers of engagement. I think that just needs to be a warning to that when you’re developing that erotic mind that facade, it can be a slippery slope that goes towards disconnection. So if you do need to think about your ex lover to have a orgasm, and your mind gets used to that habit, and every time you’re having sex, you’re thinking about someone else, that’s going to get in a way of the emotional bonds. So there are some fantasies, you know, there are some people that have values around fantasies, that kind of thinking about the fantasy doesn’t strengthen that bond, but kind of gets in a way. So I’m just trying to make space for both. I think we all are responsible for our own judgments on what works and what doesn’t work. The last thing I’d want people to do is to think that we’re trying to judge people’s experiences because I think there’s so much room here for people to make the decisions as consenting adults.

Laurie Watson 15:02
Sure. And I think maybe I worry a little bit like taking this side of the argument that as a sex therapist, I’m, you know, everything goes. And I actually don’t think that within couple ship, I think that you’re stressing the point of connection is very important. We want people to be enhanced with each other, we want their pleasure enhanced, and we want their connection enhanced. You know, I think that sharing the sexual fantasy is a way to certainly enhance the pleasure between people to say, it’s so vulnerable to share that I mean, it’s exquisitely vulnerable to share what you think about I believe, so that’s part of it. I’m not quite as concerned about or I’m not quite as focused on the the person who’s fantasizing about the other as an escape, you know, an escape from the moment or an escape from the relationship but focusing on okay, how do their sexy thoughts enhance what’s happening between them? By sharing it by acting it out? Sometimes just by having it, you know, to get aroused to stay aroused? I think that that can be okay.

George Faller 16:11
I have a good example of that, okay. I’m working with a couple. And they’re trying to develop their erotic mind, especially the wife who, you know, doesn’t need to talk about it at all with with her partner. So they do a homework assignment, they’re starting to explore it, you know, the wife then shares he says, Can you shake it? She goes, yes, I have a fantasy of, you know, of being with a woman, while I’m with you totally freaks the husband out. Like, wait a second, you’d rather be with a woman than with me? What does this mean?

Laurie Watson 16:42
He gets really rejected… he can’t fulfill that fantasy, right? Because he’s not a woman.

George Faller 16:49
Right. So again, throughout the sharing of the fantasy, created short term, big problems, right? Big insecurities, big vulnerabilities. But this couple faced it, which is really the key. And, you know, she was able to give some reassurance that it was, you know, not something she wanted to act upon. It’s just something that, you know, is interested just turned around, it’s something that there’s a little taboo to it, there’s a little bit of like, just inhibition to it, there’s, you know, so she winds up once he feels a little bit secure and open, that when they started to explore, she had a lot more energy around what turned her on, it was about being uninhibited for her, that was a turn on that she could just kind of lose herself and doing something new, right? That it was about her own kind of desire that somebody wanted her. So she started to talk about the elements of the fantasy, and she got so much more engaged, and in sharing that with him, he became so much more engaged. It was like, Oh, so you would kind of like this kind of kiss and you would like that more sensual. They got more specific, and it wound up really enhancing their sex life.

Laurie Watson 17:59
Now that’s what I’m talking about. That’s great. That’s great work. Good for them. They processed through at first what felt like rejection, and a threat. He got his brain regulated again, and she was able to stay with it and still rest still be vulnerable, even though he had gotten escalated. And she starts to explore inside. What is it about this, that’s such a turn on? And if those were things that they could both have, together in their partnership.

George Faller 18:27
And it’s important, and then he started to play with it, they’d be having sex and he’d say, imagine I was this woman and like, he would have fun and she would laugh and it you know, it’d strengthen the bond. And yet, it’s so important to highlight the partner has to be open and flexible to hearing the fantasy because if I share my fantasy, and now I have to take care of you and do damage control, I’m not going to want to share my fantasy.

Laurie Watson 18:53
Right. The other thing I think that I like about your example, I just want to stay on that for a minute, is they were committed to not doing that she didn’t need to do it. But they did share the excitement about that idea together that enhance the sexual moment. Like, you know, sometimes people it’s an absolute No, I’m never going to do that. Forget about it, but talking about it. Yes. And hearing your excitement about that. Yes. You know, all of that is a possibility if people can somewhat give up the disappointment or process the disappointment in but we’re never going to do that.

George Faller 19:29
Right. And again, for couples that decide maybe she does want to and they want to change their relationship because of these fantasies and if that’s kind of what they want to do cool. You know, it’s again, as long as they’re making decisions together about what’s best for them sexually and safety wise, then you know, it’s all good. We’re not here to judge to fantasies. Were here to evaluate the success of that fantasy. So that couple had success she shared she developed more of her erotic mind allowed him to know more about her, he developed more of his erotic Mind they had more to work with as a couple. Right? But if he was not able to hear it and became threatened, and she felt shamed for it, then that would have been a divide that it brought up between the two.

Laurie Watson 20:12
Yeah, that’s great. I love that. And I think that’s what I’m thinking about when we talk about the erotic mind. She was vulnerable enough to share it. He wanted her to share it, but didn’t know how he was going to react to it and then got threatened and then they processed and got through. That’s beautiful. I do think that when you think about your partner, sharing an erotic fantasy, maybe an erotic fantasy about another, I mean, it just instinctuall- I can kind of feel that in my chest – Like, oof, I don’t know, I don’t know- you know, just there is an anxiety about that. But it’s the processing like, okay, but what about that person turns you on?

George Faller 20:52
Exactly, I love the word you use: vulnerable. You can’t get more vulnerable than going into our fantasies or our partner hearing our fantasies. I mean, this is a doorway into vulnerability. We know vulnerability can be some amazing stuff for sex. And we want to protect ourselves from the potential misses and hurt, we just close the door to all this vulnerability.

Laurie Watson 21:16
Right. That, to me is sex. Like the erotic mind is sex. It’s not just what the body is doing, you know, the body can do. The body can do a lot of fun things. But there’s a limitation. But what we think about, that’s unlimited.

George Faller 21:31
And to break it down into the pre during and after sex. I mean, this erotic mind is critical the whole time. I was before that, anticipating that to the the possibilities, you know, allowing the fantasies I mean, this data erotic mind before sex is just as important. And how do we take they were doing the dishes? Why not think about something? See, see what comes up as you try to get practice develop in more of this erotic mind. I would love that as homework for people like how do you find times during a day to just kind of think about this part of you?

Laurie Watson 22:03
Yeah, there’s like, we have a lot of brain time. You know, social media, worry. I mean, the list, anxiety, pressure, those are brain time wasters, right, if we could just take a portion of them and devote it to a fantasy or something that would enhance our life, kind of like affirmations. I was talking about affirmations. I AM sexy!

George Faller 22:30
Gotta put out messages into the universe. For it to happen.

Laurie Watson 22:35
But you know, our brain is very powerful. We have plenty of time, time is never the issue. Never the issue.

George Faller 22:41
It reminds me of my friend. You know, he worked out all the time, his upper body and he had the most thing big chest and arms and everybody’s like, wow, but he never worked out his legs. And one day he went to the beach and I was like, What the heck is going on there? Right? It is amazing of a body these tiny little skinny legs. It was actually funny looking. But I think that’s so often what’s happening with people that don’t develop their erotic mind. They develop all the parts to sensual, you know, the romantic and that’s fantastic. Develop your legs, do some more than squats.

Laurie Watson 23:14
Men always come in and they want the technique that will turn her on forever. And I’m like, okay, in your brain, your vulnerability about yourself. That’s what will turn around forever.

George Faller 23:23
Beautiful.

Laurie Watson 23:24
Okay, Thanks for listening.

George Faller 23:26
Keep it hot!

Announcer 23:28
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